Play Secret Santa on HatQuest

Image Credits: Photo by RODNAE Productions

Exchanging gifts is an integral part of Christmas and the holiday season. Groups and gatherings of all kinds come together to exchange gifts in so many innovative ways, including White Elephant, Yankee Swap, Advent Calendars, and Secret Santa.

Secret Santa is one of the most popular and classic gift-exchanging games. The bigger the group, the more enjoyable the game is. If you’ve never played the game or aren’t aware of what it is, read on to find out.

What is Secret Santa?

Secret Santa is a Christmas tradition where groups of people draw random names to become someone’s “Secret Santa.” But what’s the secret? Well, the Santa is! Every person buys a gift for one member of the group, that being the person whose name you pick in the draw. After opening the gifts, everybody has to guess which member of the group was their Secret Santa.

You can organize Secret Santa and celebrate the holiday season with your coworkers, friends, or family. The best thing about it is that you don’t necessarily have to be in the same place. We’ll tell you how you can do this using HatQuest in a bit.

Secret Santa is a great way to get everyone involved in the festivities and create a sense of community. The activity is also a great way to get to know your friends and family better and understand what kinds of gifts they might like. A lot of groups also create wishlists, helping Santa in picking a gift.

Another advantage of Secret Santa is that it can be a great budget saving activity. Unlike a traditional gift exchange where everyone buys gifts for everyone in the group, each member buys only one gift, but it still gets everyone involved in the holiday spirit. You don’t have to spend a ton of money on gifts for everyone.

History of Secret Santa

As with a lot of traditions, even Secret Santa has a fascinating origin story (or two) to it that most people don’t know about.

Secret Gift giving has always been a part of many traditions around the world. Whether it’s surprise gifts from Santa Claus, fairies, elves, or witches. That’s right, in German folklore, it’s believed that there are “witches’’ or helper fairies that help Santa Claus to deliver gifts. Many also believe that the tradition of secret gift-giving originated in Scandinavia, where it’s always been known as “Julklapp,” which literally means “Christmas tapping.” People would simply knock on a neighbor’s door, open it, and leave the gift inside without being seen by anyone. They would also include a witty message for the recipient, leaving them to wonder who might have dropped the present.

A more recent and relevant origin to the modern Secret Santa game is linked to an American philanthropist and business owner, Larry Dean Stewart. From 1979 to 2006, Larry made a practice of anonymously handing out small amounts of cash, typically in the form of hundred-dollar bills, to needy people. Apart from sending gifts on Christmas, he also handed out 100$ bills to people on the street. Over a span of 26 years, Larry donated nearly $1.3 million. After the 9/11 attacks, many New Yorkers even received $25,000 from him, and thousands more after Hurricane Sandy. Eventually, news about his identity spread around, and he became a celebrity rather reluctantly. He then went on to establish the ‘Society of Secret Santas.’

The Many Names of Secret Santa Today

Countries from around the world celebrate Secret Santa today, but it might not always be known by the same name. For instance, people living in the United Kingdom know it as “Kris Kringle," and in Ireland, it’s Kris Kindle. People in Canada, Australia, and Austria will probably recognize any one or all of the three names. Over in Germany, people still go by their original folklore; they refer to the secret gift exchange as “Wichteln,” which comes from “Wichtel,” meaning goblin or elf. In all the names, it’s interesting to see that the name of the game always refers to the name of the person people believe brings the gifts, and that’s different in each country or culture.

How to Play HatQuest Secret Santa

While there are a lot of ways in which you can organize a Secret Santa gift exchange, HatQuest has made it easier for you to come together as a group and draw names virtually but in real time.

Whether you’re all in the same place or scattered across the globe, you can log into HatQuest and draw names for the exchange. What’s different about HatQuest Secret Santa is that the drawing happens remotely and automatically, but members of the group can be present

You can play HatQuest Secret Santa in six simple steps.

How to Play HatQuest Secret Santa

Happy Gifting!


Radhika Shenoy